A lot of information about blockchain focuses on it as the underlying technology for cryptocurrency, but there are some other really useful implementations that go beyond currency.
Bloomberg Businessweek ran an article describing the Ripple business model. While Ripple has created its own cryptocurrency XRP, the company is actually much more successful with its payment network. This network is supposedly faster than the existing SWIFT technology for banks to transfer money. As noted in the article, SWIFT is not taking this lying down and has already moved to make improvements to the system. Originally Ripple had planned to leverage XPR as the currency of choice for its payment network – a way for companies to hold XPR and not worry about holding on to multiple currencies in various bank accounts. As the company grew many companies had no interest in the cryptocurrency, but they were interested in the payment system and the CEO of Ripple was comfortable with separating the two. I think this was a sound business plan and gives companies more time to assess and work with cryptocurrencies while still leveraging some components of blockchain in their payment network.
Another article caught my eye this week was the use of blockchain to validate the authenticity of photographs. Basically the concept is to very quickly get your picture from your phone to the provider’s cloud where they can validate, watermark, and register the photograph on the blockchain. This would ensure that the picture content remains immutable allowing recipients to know they have received unaltered content.
I am amazed at the applications for blockchain and look forward to new implementations.